My name is Lou Thompson. I am a 45 year old female, living in Lakewood, Colorado. I am married and have two children. I am someone who loves to think and talk and analyze. I love to learn and to research. And I love to craft, with paper.
I have had a blog that I rarely posted on for many years. It was mostly about crafting with some personal things thrown in. This one is new and is going to be DIFFERENT.
Different you ask? How? Why?
And the reason is that I have something to say. And even more to hear. And things to share.
In 2000 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which is very mild for me. Thank heavens! If you walked into my office/craft room now you would never know. If you spent 2 hours with me, you would never know. Except that I would probably tell you, as it does play a part in who I am today. I wish I could say it plays a small part. But I would be lying, because it has impacted my life tremendously in the past 17 years. I am not going to list all the ways it has now, as that would take hours, but it will come up again. And it plays into my decision making considerably. It also is a reason I had the epiphany I had that leads to today.
After struggling with this disease and symptoms of numbness and tingling, I was hospitalized over the July 4th weekend in 2004. I was experiencing numbness to the point that I couldn’t tell if I was done going to the bathroom or not. So before I lost control of my bowel or bladder I decided it was time to call the neurologist. He immediately wanted me admitted for a 5 day round of IV steroids.
My children were 6 and 4 at the time. We were living in Winter Park, Colorado. We were 75 miles from the hospital and the IV steroids had caused blood sugar issues for me in the past. So we took the kids to my parents and headed down the mountain.
I received the treatments and had various routine tests performed. The second day I was there I was seen by the doctor on call, who happened to be Dr. Allen Bowling, who is a renowned Neurologist and MS Specialist. He explained that what we had seen in the last 4 years of following my disease was a classic case of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. He said what we had found this time was a case of Spinal Multiple Sclerosis, which was a totally different ballgame. He said I had two inflamed lesions on my spinal cord that were very close together. He said these were what was causing the extreme numbness in my groin and the right side of my body. He said the problem with the location of these two lesions was that if a third developed in the same location, or one of them grew to be much larger, I had a very strong chance of being paralyzed from that point down…
What? Did you say paralyzed?
And I sat there and thought, what the fuck? So for the next 3 days I prayed and I thought and I asked God to very clearly show me or tell me how to prevent that from happening and how to not have to be hospitalized again. I cried. I moped. And I waited…And the only message I kept hearing over and over was, ‘be. just be.’ But I had no idea what that meant.
The IV steroids helped my numbness. I did end up needing insulin twice in the 5 days, so it was a good thing I was there. But then I went home, with a round of 10 days of oral steroids (Prednisone) that started at 80mg the first day. If you don’t know anything about Prednisone, I will tell you, they suck. They fix things but they mess with you. Bad. I hardly slept for weeks. They wire me so that I would stay up all night and play The Sims video game on Playstation or shop online. I would journal, as I had since my early teens, and read.
At this time in my life I had an active youth program going at our church that I had started. I met with 25-30 high school kids on a monthly basis and contacted over 100 by mail. Remember, we lived in a very small town so this was a big success. I loved it but it was also very draining on me, as I was terrible at setting personal boundaries. The time was coming to get programing started again for the school year but it wasn’t coming together for me and all I kept thinking about was what I had heard in the hospital. ‘be. just be.’
After sitting with that for about two months I finally felt very at peace to just walk away from my Youth program and take care of myself for once. I was not good at that. I still thought a lot and prayed a lot about what ‘be. just be.’ meant. And one day in September I got another line. It was ‘you are enough just in who you are.’ And suddenly ‘be. just be.’ made perfect sense.
Since that time I have challenged and challenged that message. I have changed careers several times. I have jumped into things that wore me out in the end and every time I would get frustrated and wonder how I let this happen again. I was quick to forget that all I needed to do was ‘be. just be.’ and that was enough.
Now here I sit at 45 years old. My children both have their own apartments. I have left Winter Park and we are settling down in Denver. And I still struggle with ‘be. just be.’ I am a do-er and feel that my worth comes from what I do, how I perform, what kind of recognition I get… sound familiar?
This new blog is going to be my way to ‘be. just be.’ I am going to share my thoughts, questions, fears, love and me with the world. the REAL me. Not the bullshit one that I put out so often when I am not conscious enough to think about what I am doing.
So now you have processed and you think, ‘ok, but why the duck?’ I was listening to The Alison Show on her podcast recently and Alison said people are so afraid to get started sometimes because they think they need their ducks in a row first. And she said (and was paraphrasing Seth Godin) ‘you don’t need your ducks in a row. You just need A duck. Just one. Just get started.’
So after all the years I have thought that I should put myself out there or write a book or something… I am starting. And here is my duck.